Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Gazans Die Because Israel Denies Treatment: International Pressure Should Prevent It, Says Barghouthi

Palestinian National Initiative
21 November 2007

Ramallah: The death of two patients in two days in Gaza, both denied exit to access life-saving treatment outside of the Strip, underscores once again the brutal aspect of the Israeli siege of Gaza. "This is unacceptable, contrary to all humanitarian principles and laws, and still Israel continues unhindered. If the political will existed, these deaths could be avoided", commented Dr. Barghouthi MP, Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative. He added that the more than 10 Palestinian deaths in Gaza since August because of denied access to medical treatment are tantamount to premeditated murder.

Eight-year-old Amir Shaher Abdallah El-Yazji died on Monday 19 November 2007 after the Israeli military delayed his passage through Erez crossing to Ichilov hospital in Israel despite having the necessary permit to enter.

Two days before, on Saturday 17 November, twenty-one-year-old Na’el Al-Kurdi died in Gaza City in similar circumstances. Al-Kurdi, who suffered from cancer, was repeatedly denied permission from Israeli authorities to travel to Egypt, where he was to be treated. In a testimony given two weeks before his death, Na’el declared: "My family and I were shocked by Israel’s refusal. I am constantly worried that the disease will spread throughout my body before I receive the treatment. I have been sick for more than a year." He added: "They can’t treat me [here] and I can only sit and wait until I die."

The referral of Gazan patients abroad to receive life-saving treatment used to be normal practice, but since January 2006 the number of patients permitted to leave the Strip has slowed to a trickle, causing numerous unnecessary deaths.

The latest increase in the Israeli stranglehold on the Strip since June 2007 has made things even worse, and the denial of access to treatment is now common, widespread, and part of a wider, systematic policy of collective punishment imposed by Israel on Gaza. This was consolidated by Israel’s declaration of Gaza as a "hostile entity" in September 2007, which Dr. Barghouthi labelled "an effort by the Israeli government to continue its complete evasion of all principles of human rights and international law."

Dr. Barghouthi urged the international community to meet its obligations as High Contracting Parties of the Fourth Geneva Convention and to pressure Israel to reverse the measures of collective punishment imposed on the inhabitants of Gaza and to lift its siege on the Strip.

He concluded that the unnecessary and avoidable death of an eight-year-old child days before the Annapolis conference further revealed Israel’s disregard for Palestinian lives, underlining that Annapolis will not help the people of Gaza because it entrenches Palestinian disunity, sidelines democracy, and ignores Israeli violations of human rights.


Anne said...

I'm in Chicago and I can tell you these charges are not true, they are lies. The 8 year old died early in the morning prior to the scheduled afternoon transfer. Israel had no responsibility. The 2nd death was also not Israel's responsibility as no transfer request was ever made. Your hatred of Israel is very sad. But you want your citizens treated in Israeli facilities. If I needed life saving treatment what would happen if I came to Ramallah for medical services? Maybe I should go to Saudi Arabia, oh, but Jews aren't allowed in Saudi Arabia, are they? Syria? Omar? Kuwait?
I pity you.

northshorewoman said...

I am a fellow blogger who stumbled onto this blog by looking for other bloggers who had listed The Map of Love by Ahdaf Soueif as a favourite read. I found Amina and then this blog which has torn my heart.

Clearly, Anne, we need to explore the maps of love as the old roads of hatred and division that you travel are wrong. Accusations of lies is a hardline; there is no place for dialog when you close the door with such a fixed truism.

Nothing in this blog site speaks of hatred of Israel. What I have read is clear facts about the terrible struggles of Palestinians in Gaza to exit at checkpoints. I watched the short film on the abuse afflicted to the 3 children and the young man by Israeli soldiers.

I have read names and ages and dates. I have read that since Sept. 2000 69 Palestinian women have given birth at checkpoints and of those, 5 women and 35 newborns have died as a result. This is what is very sad--more than sad, it is criminal. It is lack of human rights. Basic care. Can you imagine to give birth at a checkpoint? In public? before the eyes of soldiers? Any woman would feel shame just for that, never mind the serious health risks as the deaths reveal.

We in the privileged world have a lot of work to do to open our eyes and our ways of seeing to let in the truth, not stereotypes based on 'us' and 'them.' That is a flawed view of the world that has made divisions between people based on deep fear such as you exhibit.

Rather than spend your time writing nasty comments on blogs that surely cause pain to people already suffering deep grievous wrongs and the silence of the world to the injustices inflicted on them--I know that I was shocked to read the mean-spiritedness of your comment--shouldn't we strive to see what can we do to bring justice? What can we do in our cosy homes in North America? What small thing can each of us do to stop such big injustices?